Current Best Value Indoor Smart Trainer

I’ve always used a Computrainer with TrainerRoad. I’ve done this for the last 7 years and have no experience with any other trainers on the market. I’m ready to upgrade now though. If it matters, I live in the USA (Norcal)

What’s the best VALUE trainer on the market? What’s the best place to buy?
Is the FEEL completely different than what I get from my Computrainer?

I read a DCRainmaker comparison a while ago which I believe stated the Kickr Core as being the sweet spot for value. Is this still the case?

The big change in the last 7 years has been direct drive you definitely will get a better road feel with upgrade.

Computrainers accuracy and warmup time was around 15 mins. New trainers like tacx Neo don’t require calibration.

Kickr need a calibration around every two weeks.

Trainers as a whole have got quieter or even silent in the latest generation kickr and the neo.

Now the kickr core is a good product at a good price when it works. You just have to read this forum for people who have issues with the latest generation kickr/core.

I’ve got a working core but have had 3 in the process.

I’d check the reviews on a tacx flux s for a slightly cheaper trainer. Just noise may be an issue but if you’ve been using a computrainer for 7 years it’s unlikely to be a big issue.

Given how easy it is to get an H2 for 20% off (which brings the price down to $800), I’d say it’s probably the best value out there right now.


I do have a power meter already (Powertap P1 Pedals) which I can do ‘power matching’ through TrainerRoad with.
Your thoughts on there not being a difference in feel does differ from others in this thread.

Best value is a good used computrainer. I picked mine up years ago for $250 and have hundreds of hours on it and I’m sure many hundreds (thousands even) to come.

Tacx Neo 1. Got it for $900.


I have a Kickr Core that works. Just retired a KK Road Machine. The Kickr has a much more road like feel due to the inertia of the flywheel. Also recovery intervals at lower power levels feel like more work. In Erg mode at higher power outputs one is forced to maintain faster cadences (otherwise you’re toast). A power meter and dumbtrainer will not feel or act the same. My 2 cents.

Neo gets my vote too

-No calibration, so no daily or weekly “hassle”. No wondering if you’re having a bad day or if the calibrated power is drifting
-The slight rocking it allows really makes long trainer rides more bearable.
-More or less quiet
-Almost zero reports about troublesome quality or other issues . This can’t be said for any Wahoo trainer or even Tacx’s other models.

Above list convinced me to pay a little bit more.
They seem to get occasional discounts down to 850-900€ since the Neo 2 is out.


So to shoot the Easter bunny… The Neo has accuracy issues at high end flywheel speeds. The ‘virtual wheel slip’ issues. And clunking disc/scraping issues. It’s not the golden goose we want to believe it is. It’s still a damn good trainer though.


I agree, neo 1 owner, buying again would go for core, especially if mainly using it for tr (2.5 years kicker, 10 months neo, had more neos than kickers)

Kickr Snap


I went from a tacx vortex to a clicker core (Crapped out within 3 weeks) and was unwilling to play the return game with wahoo considering its only a one year warranty in north America and it seems they are sending out faulty product to replace faulty product. Some people have been through 7-8 units.

Picked up a cycleops h2 for $800.00 from REI. A company called the bike closet in California had it on for 750 at the same time but shipping was $40.00 so I just went with rei.

Dcrainmaker just did a video on upgrading the computrainer with newer tech. Don’t know if that would help.

Best of luck!!!

Any non wahoo direct drive trainer.

+1 for the Kickr Core. It’s been out some time now, so I belive the initial issues have been fixed. Safer to buy one now.

It’s a good balance between the high end Kickr or Neo, and the “lower end” more affordable direct drive alternatives.

And it’s “silent” like the Neo and Kickr. (Love this part, no jet engine in the livingroom anymore)

I ride a Core myself so a bit biased, but I also weighted the value vs price back in November, and chose it. Works perfect with Powermatch with my stages.

Good luck and let us know what you landed on and why :call_me_hand::grinning:

Kickr Snap owner.

Very pleased with over a year’s ownership. I had/have a low budget so use my Audax bike on this with Schwalbe Duranos. No worn rubber or issues with the roller and of course my bike fit is superbly honed. No faff clipping the bike on and off when I need it on the trainer or outdoors in a flash.

Very quiet too :shushing_face:


Different options here.

Wheel-on and direct-drive trainers.
You have, “dumb” trainers, which don’t auto adjust resistance
You have, “smart” trainers, which can give you data estimates (speed, power, cadence)
You have, “smart erg mode” trainers, which can give you data estimates and adjust the resistance automatically.

Wheel-on are generally more affordable.
Road feel is not as well replicated.
Wear on the tire (ideally get a trainer tire)
A lot noisier (although some are pretty quiet if you shop around, like STAC ones)
Easy enough to setup if you keep your road tire (since you keep your wheel on)

Direct-drive are generally more expensive.
Ideally need 2nd cassette if not provided in package
Takes a little extra time to switch from outside/inside mode
Better road feel

Dumb trainers are the cheapest
means you’ll have to whether get a speed/cadence sensor or powermeter
you will have to generate the power with your own legs and will to stick to the wattage (no automated resistance to help you stick to your watts)

Smart trainers are an in between
you still have to generate the power on your own volition but the sensors on the trainer calculate estimated power/speed/cadence. Not always accurate/transferable but it’s a good relative effort/progress measurement.

Smart erg mode trainers offer the most options but are more $
you get to choose between erg mode or non-erg mode
on lazy days you can just turn on erg mode and not have to think about it as much
erg mode “keeps you honest” with the power output

So depending on your budget, and what components you might want for your rides (or might already have) i’d say whether you get a highish end wheel-on smart erg trainer or a lower end direct drive trainer to keep it under the $1k mark.

If your thinking of getting something for the next several years like you did for your computrainer maybe spend the money on a better direct-drive one like the tacx neo suggested above, if you want budget/value and might want to change after 1 or 2 seasons, something cheap like the tacx vortex (gotta find sales) could do…but you do get what you pay for :wink:

Another vote for the core.

I have a Kickr Core as well without an issue except the gearing is rough and can’t use some gears as it obviously needs some calibration but not sure how to do it and I don’t want my bike stuffed each time I take it outside.
Is this an issue with all wheel off trainers or only the core and is this scenario happen to everyone or cyclists all know how to calibrate their gearing because I’ve looked at YouTube videos and it seems straight forward but it just makes it worse for me when I fiddle with the barrels.

Thats interesting. Thats he one problem I did not have with my core. Ive had three different bikes on it and it lined up every time. Did you remember to take the spacer out if your running 11 speeds? Or did you put it in if your running 10 or less?

1 Like